Horner Confirms Kvyat Could Return to Toro Rosso
Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner has confirmed that Daniil Kvyat could return to Toro Rosso, making a Formula One comeback that would no doubt raise a few eyebrows around the paddock.
At the 2016 Russian Grand Prix, his home race, Daniil Kvyat’s F1 career had taken a turn for the worse about as quickly as you could imagine possible, short of a life-altering crash.
He had, prior to that year, proved to be a very quick young driver, and impressed his bosses enough to earn a promotion from Scuderia Toro Rosso to the championship-winning Red Bull Racing team in 2016.
He had then been on an upward curve at the start of that year. He retired through no fault of his own at the first race (electrical issue), finished sixth at the second, and third at the next — his first-ever podium. Then disaster struck.
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At his home race, he was responsible for crashing into Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and his teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Red Bull demoted him back to Toro Rosso immediately. It was as much punishment as strategy: the team had been looking for a way to lock the very promising Max Verstappen into a contract to prevent other teams from poaching him, and did so by giving him Kvyat’s seat (and just to dig the knife in deeper, Verstappen won his first race with Red Bull).
Kvyat was never the same after that. He was given a thorough on-track thrashing by new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr, and at the end of 2017 was fired altogether to make room for Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley.
But now Red Bull is leaking drivers. Ricciardo surprised them by leaving for Renault, and Sainz Jr has signed with McLaren. Gasly will take the Red Bull seat in 2019, but that leaves an open spot at Toro Rosso and the team doesn’t have anyone lined up.
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When asked about the possibility of Kvyat making a return, Horner pointed out that there are always lots of rumors surrounding the Italian Grand Prix at Monza (whether Ferrari will resign Räikkönen is a hot topic at the moment).
Then he added: “I think the situation with Toro Rosso is pretty open so I think everything is being considered. He’s one of several drivers who are on the list.”
Kvyat is currently a simulator driver for Ferrari, but with few if any other options available for him to make an F1 comeback, it’s quite possible the young Russian driver will be happy to return to his old team despite their history, just for a second chance at making it in F1 again.